Book#1, The Clifton Chronicles
If I would have listened to some reviewers I wouldn’t have touched this book but I did not and I am happy I have ignored all those so so reviews. In fact, I simply loved this story and found that Mr. Archer delivered a page-turning saga filled with twists and enough of a surprise at the end that I added book #2 to my library already. I am so curious to see what comes next.
The story revolves around the main character Harry Clifton, a boy growing up in the backdrop of docks in Bristol at the start of the 20th century. The story is broadly divided into parts, each dedicated to characters who take the story forward from their point of view: Harry, his mother Maisie, Emma Barrington, Hugo Barrington, Giles Barrington and Old Jack Tar. They all have their secrets, game and deceit. Young Harry has a beautiful singing voice and has the intelligence to further his education but without money he needed connections to gets through his schooling and to Oxford. He had all the help to do so…
The first part of the book is pretty much the every cliché you read about English boarding schools: sadistic prefects, social snobbery, cruel mockery etc. The prose is clear, smooth slipping along from page to page. The dialogue is your everyday lines. The driving force is the plot and the pace picks up fast when Harry gets out of school and so did my interest. The author excels in doling out tiny crumbs of suspense and keeps the tempo up to the last page where it ends with a really excellent cliff-hanger….I am not usually a fan of this kind of ending but here I make an exception….well-done.
This story will appeal to those who love smooth suspense with moderate action.